21 May Exploring Meknes
We decide to take one of the Petit-taxis to explore the old part of Meknes and to do some sight seeing. The ride is quite interesting. Sometimes the one-lane road is turned into a two- or three-lane road. People cross right in front of our little car. Other cars turn left and right directly in front of us as well and there are people everywhere! Not sure how anybody makes it anywhere safely around here, but nobody seems to get hurt.
Meknes is one of the Moroccan Imperial Cities. It also seems to be one of Morocco’s hidden gems. For having a rich history, a palace, an old horse stable that used to hold 12000 horses, several Mosques, a Medina, and Souk, and other sights around its city, it is pleasantly laid back and quiet.
Besides a couple of guys around the main square and a few street-performers and snake charmers, there are no faux-tour-guides or people trying to hassle us. Nobody intends to show us their goods or tries to make us buy their things.
Handcrafted in Meknes
Together with Erik we are able to wander through the alleyways of the medina and the souk while checking out all the little stores and eateries without being bothered or rushed. From food and herbs, to shoes, clothes and even a real camel head… anything is for sale. In some of the alleys we watch people chisel tiny tiles into different shapes to make bigger mosaic tiles. We talk with one of the men and find out it takes him about 6 days to finish one of his works.
We watch colorful ribbons being made from silky strings on what looks like ancient machines. Somebody stuffs and stitches mattresses, while others paint intecret woodworks. We sit and people watch while enjoying the local food and delicious mint tea.
Exploring the Madrassa and Mausoleum
One of the food vendors informs us that in Meknes we are even allowed to visit the Madrassa ( the Koran school ), and the mausoleum, which are usually big no-no’s for non-muslems to visit. So we take off to find these places. After seeing the craftsman make the tile-work and knowing how long it takes him to finish just a regular size tile, we look at the mosaics within the Madrassa and the Mausoleum with a whole new perspective!
As we climb up the stairs onto the roof of the Madrassa, we can see the maze of rooftops and feel like we should be part of an action movie, where people run from rooftop to rooftop.
Overall, we had a fantastic, relaxing day, while sightseeing today and in the evening we topped it off with another round of cold beer at “Le Pub”.
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